Invariance

Exploring all subject around software engineering, developer productivity and life.

Moving from Arch to Fedora 34

After 4 years of using Debian with no troubles, I decided, back in last November to try Arch as my daily driver on a new work laptop I just got. Installing Arch was painful, making all my programs work under Wayland on a 4k screen took me a lot of time, and they were a lot of small annoying things that I did not have time to fix, making the whole experience irritating.

I started with a big TODO list of all the things I wanted to set up on the new laptop, but used so much time fixing things, that I gave up on many of my todo list items, one being system backups. Fast-forward 4 months later and the obvious happened, my system broke after an upgrade.

My choice was simple, try and fix it, or start again. After 4 months of pain, I felt that it was probably a good sign for me to drop Arch, go back to something that just works, and spend my time doing more useful things. I've learned a lot of doing the entire Arch installation from scratch, setting up ethernet and Wi-Fi, creating custom keyboard layouts, and many other things. I would probably recommend the process to anyone that want to improve its Linux skills, but I personally had enough.

Debian was the obvious choice to go back to, being my distribution of choice for a long time and my number one choice for all my servers, but the release system is not on pace with today's web development.

After some research I decided to try Fedora 34 with the new shiny Gnome 40, and I was not disappointed! Everything worked right after the installation, 4k resolution on all the programs, it's fast, looks nice, Wayland without glitches, and no need to do a Google search everytime I need to set up a new Wi-Fi connection. I was reluctant to go back to Gnome after 3 years of I3 and Sway, but some carefully chosen keymaps made the transition easy, and my workflow was not impacted at all.

I still had to learn how to use DNF, Fedora's package manager, SELinux that come by default and will prevent you from doing shady stuff like running Docker, and rebuild my dotfiles almost from scratch, but it's a small investment to have a featureful and stable desktop environment.

Overall I'm really happy with the switch, it feels like I'm using a desktop environment made in the future. My Fedora install is not as barebone and take a bit more resources, but it's well worth it, considering all the time that I do not need to spend fixing programs behavior on Sway.

If you're interested in trying Fedora 34, you can take a look at my dotfiles (opens new window) which set up a working PHP / JS development environment and get rid of a lot of not so useful things that come with Fedora.

Finally, if like me, you have a Windows dual boot and went a bit too fast during the installation of Fedora 34, here is how to repair a broken Windows EFI partition.